The demise of the Auditors?

On Sep 1, Mr David Mason, was a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Singapore for 14 years, opined that auditing was once a coveted profession and auditor’s opinion on the financial statements was held in high regard. His letter is entilted, “Prognosis not optimistic for auditing profession”.

He observed that auditing as a service has been commoditised, whose pricing could be reduced to capture the more lucrative advisory business.

There is some possible linking between some corporate failures in Singapore with “audit failure”.

Have the corporate failures hastened the demise of the auditing profession? Mr Mason certainly think so as he is now a business consultant in UK.

On the 6th Sep, Ms Penelope Phoon, head of ACCA Singapore, in her letter entitled “Prospects good for accounting profession”, came to the defence of auditors.

When I first read the title, I was expecting information supporting the growing demand for accountants given the expanding economy.

I was duly disappointed when the reference to “auditors” precipitated the whole letter. Maybe it is not her fault. Perhaps it was due to the person who nominated that title to her letter. I am of the opinion that accountants and auditors are 2 very different terms.

Are all auditors accountant?
Are all accountants auditors?

Clearly Ms Phoon was defending the growing prospect for auditors and their assurance services. She said auditors are getting higher fees due to greater audit risks. There is demand for qualified personnels to attend to assignment relating to Sarbanes-Oxley’s. Will a nationalised audit office prevent audit failures? Or does the man on the street want to let the government take the rap in corporate failures?

For those aspiring auditors out there, these 2 letters are certainly worth reading.


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